Westhoff Lecture 2022: A breakthrough in biodiversity restoration?

On 13 June, Louise Vet and Hans de Kroon will deliver this year’s Westhoff Lecture. Hosted by Radboud University, this lecture is held annually to highlight current issues in nature management and honours the legacy of conservationist Victor Westhoff. The Silver Parnassia will also be awarded to Rascha Nuijten on this day.

Please note that this lecture will be held in Dutch

A number of innovative programmes have been launched in recent years with the aim of restoring biodiversity in the Netherlands. Three years after the launch of the Delta Plan for Biodiversity Restoration and the start of the Living Labs research for Biodiversity Restoration, Louise Vet, a former director of the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) and Emeritus Professor of Evolutionary Ecology at Wageningen University, and Hans de Kroon, Professor of Plant Ecology at Radboud University, will take stock of the progress made.

Illusion or breakthrough?

Biodiversity belongs to us all and it is to all our benefit. But we apparently do not appreciate this enough to ensure the preservation of the riches of the natural world. The global loss of biodiversity in all its forms and functions, from the tiny gene to the vast landscape, is alarming. Years of efforts to protect biodiversity have not been sufficient to halt this loss.

The Delta Plan for Biodiversity Restoration was launched three years ago under the leadership of Louise Vet. The programme enables farmers, nature conservation organisations and other land users to invest in biodiversity restoration. It is a broad social partnership, combining incentives and passion for nature with attention for the concerns and requirements of all parties involved. The Living Labs explore how existing initiatives have improved biodiversity. They examine what works and what does not, and whether the combined initiatives really lead to sustainable nature restoration.

In their lecture, Vet and de Kroon paint a realistic picture of where we stand today: somewhere between hope and despair. They also look at what needs to be done. “The many enthusiastic bottom-up movements feed our optimism that we can still do it. They are increasingly revealing what essential support is lacking,” says Louise Vet.

Silver Parnassia

The Silver Parnassia is also awarded annually as part of the Westhoff Lecture. This is an incentive prize for up-and-coming, socially engaged young talent in the field of nature research, nature management and nature experience. Rascha Nuijten, the inspiring director of the Future for Nature Foundation, will receive this year’s award. Her organisation is committed to global nature conservation, and offers young conservationists a platform and support. Nuijten will give her vision on the global biodiversity crisis and the key factors that can play a role in reversing it.

Westhoff Lecture and Chair

Victor Westhoff was a professor of Geobotany at Radboud University from 1967 to 1981. He was one of the first to point out the special natural values of small-scale cultural landschapes and provided a scientific foundation for the discipline of plant sociology. He has been called the greatest post-war conservationist. Radboud University honours his legacy with the annual Westhoff Lecture and the Westhoff Chair.

For information and to register, please go to (in Dutch).


Contact information

For further information, please contact one of the scientists involved or team Science communication via +31 24 361 6000 or media [at] (media[at]ru[dot]nl).   

Sustainability, Nature